The Need For FBI Accountability After Parkland

The need for FBI accountability after Parkland 

Excerpt: Fred Guttenberg was picking out a casket for his slain 14-year-old daughter Jaime Guttenberg when an FBI agent called him to say the bureau could have prevented the school shooting that left her dead, according to a lawsuit filed in Miami federal court Tuesday. 

Jaime Guttenberg was killed along with 16 other people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Feb. 14, even though the FBI had been warned about the shooter, Nikolas Cruz, just a month before. 

“Are you telling me that if the FBI did not make a mistake and did their job a month sooner, my daughter would still be alive today?” Fred Guttenberg asked, according to the lawsuit. 

“I’m afraid so, sir,” the unnamed agent is said to have replied.

Bottom Line: There have been three different threads of accountability widely pursued in the wake of Stoneman Douglas. Gun Control. Failures by the Broward School District. Failed law enforcement response. From the onset, I raised the question of why we weren’t immediately taking the accountability question to the FBI.  

Almost immediately after killings at Stoneman Douglas, we learned that the killer had been referred to the FBI months leading up to the attack not once but twice. What’s more is that one of those reports arose because the eventual school shooter said he wanted to be a professional school shooter. I’m glad to see this lawsuit and increased attention to FBI accountability.

Frankly, we should have started there. If the FBI had done their job in the first place, 17 young adults would be alive today. The FBI’s failure at Stoneman Douglas is magnified by their stunning failures to stop the Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen. Without revisiting all of the failures by the FBI to stop Omar Mateen, 49 people would be alive today from that murderous attack.  

The two worst mass shootings in Florida’s history occurred within the past three years and both included multiple people on multiple occasions raising concerns to the FBI about the perpetrators. Importantly, we have no way of knowing if any accountability has taken place within the Bureau to ensure we don’t have additional failures like these and everyone, especially victim's families, deserve those answers. 

Photo by: RHONA WISE / AFP/Getty Images

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